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There’s nothing rebellious about Green “protests”

Elites accept most of their premises already

Artillery Row

Coverage of the British Grand Prix opened with a series of promotional videos from Formula 1 which celebrated their commitment to being “net zero” by 2030. However, the first lap of the race greeted us with the familiar sight of green protestors. In a risky stunt, they broke onto the circuit and sat on the track.

Six people have since been charged with conspiracy to cause public nuisance. Despite constant virtue signalling from the sport, it appears that appeasement does not work. 

Age is an important factor in astro-turfed protests

In a hangover from 1960s counter-cultural movements, protests have become a means of legitimising political groups who see themselves as being engaged in a heroic struggle against “The Man”. 

The backend of the twentieth century saw an explosion of protests which opposed the conservative status quo — ranging from anti-war demonstrations to the Stonewall Riots. These battles have become central to the mythos to our stagnant culture, and it seems many people thirst for historical re-enactment.

As with all reenactments of famous battles, you are shielded from genuine harm. The swords aren’t real, and the police are probably not going to put you in prison. Today, many large demonstrations are nothing more than a ritual — protesting against a government or company that has already accepted their premise. 

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a mob of middle-aged women sporting trendy blue and yellow face paint descended on Westminster. What did they want? Well, something has to be done, of course. But the British government had already moved very quickly to become Ukraine’s most important Western ally. Aside from a handful of extremists who proposed a No-Fly Zone, these were not protestors. They were cheerleaders in the garb of rebellion.

Age is an important factor in these astro-turfed protests. Mainstream platforms tell us that the environmentalist movement is being led by young people with “climate anxiety”, while conservative commentators blame “woke lefty teenagers” for the exploits of Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion. However, a brief glance at footage from these disruptive demonstrations reveals grey hair and bald heads. A study from the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity found that members of Extinction Rebellion have a mean age of over 40.

Their demands are also decidedly anti-youth: blocking HS2, banning cheap flights and punishing consumption. In fact, climate alarmism could not be further from a youthful protest movement — it is top-down government policy. 

In her final weeks as Prime Minister, Theresa May enshrined in law a commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. By using a statutory instrument to amend the Climate Change Act, this legislation did not require the approval of her MPs. An outgoing leader, eaten up by a legacy of failure, used her executive powers to save face in front of progressive elites. This has never been challenged by Johnson’s government and Net Zero is now an accepted mainstay of British politics.

The ultra-wealthy pour billions into green policies to buy social approval

What was once the climate change lobby has transformed into an omnipresent blob with undying support from billionaires, NGOs, journalists and celebrities. There is no greater demonstration of the pervasiveness of this ideology than the support expressed by Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel after protestors delayed their race. Whilst team officials rushed to explain and walk-back the comments, their cynicism was already laid out for all to see. Tipping your hat at green protestors is a common status symbol for celebrities — just as Gary Lineker demonstrated later in the day. 

There is a clear religiosity to this movement. For the ultra-wealthy, it has become their opportunity at salvation by good works. They pour billions into green policies, very far removed from costs faced by ordinary working people, to buy social approval. The religious extremists we saw protesting at Silverstone have built themselves a twenty-first century doomsday cult. They envisage an apocalypse where we are all punished for our sins. Their rituals are painful, humiliating and — in the most extreme cases — put their own lives at risk. 

Debates about selective policing are nothing new. The police stood down as the statue of Edward Colston was thrown into the sea but let out their pent-up anger on rowdy football fans. The state’s response to green protestors has been remarkably soft. Nowhere is this more cartoonishly clear than the case of Louis McKenchnie — who was arrested at Silverstone on Sunday. The bespectacled protestor is now the recognisable face of Just Stop Oil, infamously tying himself to the Everton goal post at Goodison Park. 

The Home Office makes no attempt at cracking down on these dedicated protestors who are prepared to be arrested, pay the fine and then do it again. The Tories do not crush these organisations because they tacitly agree with them, just as a socialist government treads lightly when dealing with trade union militancy. These self-indulgent pantomimes are implicitly being state-sponsored, as long as the government refuses to bring such childish antics to an end. 

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